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Arts Council to build cultural center downtown

Mari Johnson

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After receiving a $1.4 million grant from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Tuscaloosa Arts Council has revamped its website to include a new page: one all about their quest to build a new Cultural Arts Center in downtown Tuscaloosa.

Sandra Wolfe, executive director of the Tuscaloosa Arts Council, said she believes the new arts center will help bring the people of Tuscaloosa together by providing a location for all art programs to collaborate.

“It’ll be a spot for students as well,” Wolfe said. “It’s for many UA students and Shelton students who are artists and don’t have a studio to create in. Now they’ll have a home.”

The new Cultural Arts Center will be located in the 1907 Allen Jemison Building on the corner of 7th Street and Greensboro Avenue. Alyssa Dinberg, an intern of the arts council, said the new center will offer gallery space, a black box theater and arts offices for the Tuscaloosa Symphony, along with other amenities.

“Some other things are in the works for the second floor, but we can’t give out specifics yet,” she said.

The council is taking donations to aid in construction for the new arts center. Wolfe said without the funds to build the center, they will not be able to accomplish their plan to add the new building.

“The city has done their part with the grant, and we need to go in and create the space,” Wolfe said. “We have raised $350,000 so far. We’ve also received $60,000 from the Alabama State Arts Council.”

The council has also re-designed their website to make it more user-friendly. Subata Corporation, a locally-owned design company, designed and built the new website with the help of Sawaya Consulting.

Dinberg said they were a pleasure to work with and did an incredible job.

“The old website was much harder to navigate as a viewer,” Dinberg said. “Finding the calendar of events was complicated, and it just had an outdated feel. The new website has a fresh, clean feel to it, while still holding a unique and creative design. Items are laid out much clearer and are much easier to find.”

The new website features three new unique headers, each complimenting the purpose of the Tuscaloosa Arts Council, the new Cultural Arts Center and the Bama Theatre. It also comes equipped with calendars of events for each section and a virtual calculator of the council’s donation progress. Wolfe said they have a special event planned for the opening of the new Cultural Arts Center.

“We will definitely have a big kick-off,” Wolfe said. “When we can actually go in, we will have something for donators to go in and look around at what the building will look like and what has been done.”

To find out more about the new Cultural Arts Center and the Tuscaloosa Arts Council, visit

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Arts Council to build cultural center downtown